Somewhat Of A Practical Guide
For this semester, I tried something new in my classroom. I flipped my classroom. A simple definition of a flipped classroom, is when students do content learning at home (such as, notes, reading, ect.) and they do activities (debates, worksheets…but more critical thinking, and primary sources, and so on.) in the classroom.
This has been something that I have wanted to do since I became a teacher. I have always been more of a project-based teacher (where students learn through research, and creative ways). So flipping my classroom was not a big too much of a big step. It opened up my time with the students to applying what they learned rather than giving them facts and basic historical information (I am a history teacher).
How I Got It Started
Getting it going was probably the hardest part. There was a lot more prep and at first a lot more planning. I remember the first two weeks were so time consuming, I wasn’t sure I would continue doing it. Then slowly but surly it became easier. I started to get into a rhythm and within the first two days I started to see changes in my students, not just grade wise but also skills. They were learning to apply more of their information and connecting what they had learned from the night before to what we were doing in class. It was awesome!
What I Have Learned
I have had a flipped classroom for almost four months. In that time, I have learned a lot.
I have learned…
– that it works if you use PPTs or exact textbook pages for the students to do their homework.
– that it really helps the students to have their homework listed for at least a week out (that way they can work ahead if they want but also what will be expected of them. I actually do two weeks out. Below is an example of what I give my students every two weeks. They love PPT days because then they can simply read/highlight and bring a print out of it to class.
– if they have homework for notes there has to be time given at the begging of each class where you have a “homework check”. I usually do this by setting aside 15-20 minutes of class. During this time I give them about five questions. Once they have completed the questions (or when the time is up) we discuss the questions. This provides motivation to those students who struggle with motivating themselves.
– that I need to switch up the activities more. I cant just expect students to always do primary source activities. That will be redundant and boring.
– that flipped classroom are about applying, applying and applying. It is actually easy to get in a rut of here is the information, remember it, take a test. A flipped classroom should NEVER be this. It needs to be about students connecting to their learning. This means that a teacher might have to look outside of their content area for some ideas. (I have used some Math and English techniques)
– that flipping the classroom, though hard, is worth it!
As a history teacher, I face a lot of students who hate the subject. They see it as a bunch of dates to memorize and that it has no connection to their lives. Though through this educational experiment, I have been about to teach my students to see history as a subject to enjoy. Since, I flipped my classroom, I conducted a survey.
In that survey my students told me that they liked it because it allowed them to see how to apply history to their lives and to the present situations of the world. — I know right! My kids are awesome!
If you are thinking of flipping our classroom, I say give it a try. The only regret that I have is that I didn’t start at the beginning of the school year.
Thanks for reading!
Share any of your questions or experiences in the comments. 🙂